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HCRS Crisis Care Center Offers Alternative Setting for Individuals Having a Mental Health Crisis

In June 2010, HCRS initiated an important innovation in mental health crisis treatment when they opened Vermont’s first Crisis Care Center in Springfield, Vermont.

Typically, when a person is experiencing a mental health crisis, they must go to their local Emergency Room (ER) and a crisis screener is called in to evaluate them. Unfortunately, most ERs are overburdened with medical emergencies resulting in lengthy waits for mental health treatment. In addition, the mental health patient who goes to the ER incurs charges for both the use of the ER and the crisis screening, which makes this a very expensive way to treat a mental health crisis. The long waits and high cost of this approach add a layer of additional stress to an already stressful event.

HCRS’ Crisis Care Center offers a more affordable and client friendly way to handle mental health crises. The Crisis Team specializes in treating adults, adolescents, and children struggling with an acute crisis such as suicidal or homicidal thoughts, feelings of being out of control or unsafe, and/or extreme emotional distress. The crisis staff can provide referrals to counseling, psychiatric and substance abuse services, as well as inpatient psychiatric admission, based on the needs of the client.

While the Crisis Care Center treats a wide array of mental health issues, we are not a medical facility. Therefore, individuals in crisis who have serious medical issues, who have taken an overdose, or who are injured, should go to their nearest ER. In these instances, the ER staff will call for a crisis screener once the patient is medically stable.

In addition to being a cost effective and client friendly way to treat mental health crises, the Crisis Care Center reduces wait times for clients in crisis substantially. In the Crisis Care Center, we frequently hear clients report that the last time they were in the ER for a mental health crisis, they spent four, six, or more hours in the ER. The typical client in the Crisis Care Center is seen within 15 minutes of arrival, and is usually ready to go in less than two hours. This makes for a much less stressful event for the client, their family, and their community providers.

The Crisis Care Center is located next door to HCRS’ Headquarters in Springfield at 386 River Street, and is open Monday through Friday, 10AM to 6PM. We accept walk-ins until 5:00PM.

In the near future, HCRS intends to open a second Crisis Care Center in Brattleboro. If you or someone you know is in need of crisis services, please feel free to call us and we will be happy to coordinate a screening, either at the Crisis Care Center or the ER. We can be reached on our 24-hour Crisis hotline (800) 622-4235.